This past weekend I attended the Music and Worship Leaders Retreat at Laurelville Mennonite Church Center in western PA. The theme was PastPresentFuture, focused on bringing our whole selves into worship, and that worship itself is an act of extending our selves back into traditions we have inherited and forward into the future for which we hope.
One of the main resource persons was Lara Steinel, a cantor and leader of a progressive Jewish congregation in Kansas City. One of the lines she delivered was a quote from Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi who said something to the effect: “The mind is like tofu: it takes in the flavor of the marinades.” Which raises the question for me of What are we marinating in? For starters, it’s a positive step to see Christians reclaiming our kinship and connection with Jewish faith and marinating together in the message of the Torah and the prophets.
Another speaker, David Miller, a prof at AMBS, noted that “we borrow faith from one another.” He meant this in a congregational sense – that when we gather, and when we sing words set to music in our hymnals, we borrow the faith communicated through that song, and we are filled with a borrowing that guides us God-ward. We borrow from the past and we are informed by the vision of future toward which we believe the Holy Spirit is drawing all creation.